So, after a particularly testing period of mental constipation, I sallied forth from the Newbank Intellectual Institute with my award for Smartest New Thinker of the Year 2009. I had just solved the global warming dilemma with a scheme to both purify the ozonosphere and replace it with a nasally acceptable elderberry musk. Oh, it was so simple, reader! You won't believe it! We'll get to that in due course, however. I want to discuss the ceremony.
Oh, the prestige! In the audience were such intellectual giants as Reinhold Niebuhr's daughter, radical atheist Sam Harris, and Fay Fife from new wave pioneers the Rezillos. The award was presented after clips from my previous career -- a storyteller in a deep dingy cave deep in the deep heart of Edinburgh. Although my prose was frequently eclipsed by everyone else in the city (at that time 97% of the inhabitants were struggling creative writers), the clips package showed my strongest literary moments: the self-satirical Four-Eyed Gimp and the autobiographical Skinny Freakboy Deluxe.
My old nemesis, Lucy Biatch, who for years had been undermining my efforts, gave a charming speech.
"How does one define Nigel -- this towering Übermensch, this exploding intellectual force, this signifier of the New World Hope? In my youth, when I was riled up with hatred, I would have called him a meaningless globular underwhelming pestilent half-cocked bugger with a cerebellum tinkered by hobo-monkeys. Not anymore! Nigel has, at last, graduated from his feeble dismissive hesitant arse-clown Gordon Gano self into more pleasing self, more Will Self than his old self. Ha-ha-ha-ha. Anyway, three whoops for Nigel!" she began to towering applause.
Without labouring the point too much, the crowd fell cock-a-hoop head-over-shins in love with me. The women cascaded backwards in delirious swoons, the men were so eager to kiss the hem of my waistcoat that four Nobel prize winners got crushed in the rush. And so on. Yes, I was one red-hot brain on the intelligent geezer circuit. How then did I save the globe from annihilation? Simple. Here is my original thesis, written on a napkin:
Baffled? No need to be. Let me explain. Smoke travels upwards into the atmosphere, which is like a large sponge, absorbing gases, liquids and asteroids. Right? When we remove clogged gases, liquids and asteroids, the scum left over from the offending items creates an irremediable honk, thus ruining the earth's atmosphere. So, what we need to do is fill in these holes with smokers and human pollutants. We need to round up the smokers, strap them to rockets and blast them into the sky so they can lick the scum off the ozonosphere with their cancerous tongues.
Do you understand? Are you a smoker? Do you puff, you motherhumping cretin? Anyway, that's the plan. Ah-hem. I am sorry for that outburst. Sometimes it is hard for me to compute the magnitude of my genius. If you imagine my genius as being iguanodon-like, or brachiosaurus-like, or triceratops-like (which is in itself rhinoceros-like, which is irrelevant, yet you are still reading this parenthesis -- why, were you unloved as a child?) then you can see that my genius is really rather impressive.
That evening after the ceremony, I awaited Lucy's appearance. Ever since my ascension into the pantheon of the intellectual greats, she was all over me like a Teflon non-stick pan on a pack of sausages. The years of abuse, the decades of patronising bile -- gone. The lollipops of recrimination, the tampons of visceral disgust and putridity -- also gone, replaced with a rampant acceptance of Nigel's wondrousness and brilliantness. Oh, sing it people! Nii-gel is great! Ah-let me hear ya now! Nii-gel is great! Just the altos! Nii-gel is great, that's the way of the Lord, yeah!
When Lucy arrived at my mansion that night, I was seeing her anew. Gone were the rancorous boils I had blotted on her skin, the doodles of ugliness I had transposed onto her visage through months of intensive eideteking. Instead, standing before me, on two legs, on two feet, was a six-foot one-inch hunk of woman, with all the usual traits of a woman: toes, eyes, neck, etc.
"You're looking tasty tonight, baby-pies," I said, taking Lucy by the hand. I led her to the couch upon which we settled to conduct the extended sex scene coming up in the next paragraph.
"You're such a bloody genius, Nigel. If there's one thing I love doing it's having extended sex scenes with bloody geniuses."
We began with four and half minutes of tongue-lapping fun. She swilled her minty fresh love-sucker around my gums, carefully licking the crumbs from the back of my teeth and reaching down through my throat, into my trachea, and down my digestive tract to retrieve a paperclip I had swallowed in error when I was supposed to be eating a bun.
We cooled off for a moment then began a zestful foreplay session. I began by rubbing salt along the nape of her neck, sensuously swishing French fries across her chin and popping them into her mouth. She held the French fries between her teeth, biting off the end and sucking out the potato inside. This produced an indescribable sensation of ecstasy within me, which if I had to describe, I would describe as indescribable.
She desired ketchup, so I hobbled to the kitchen and began bashing the underside of the bottle to get the last few blobs from the bottom and onto my chest. Ripping off my trews, she licked the ketchup from my chest hairs and began a Columbus-like circumnavigation of my torso and its beautiful contours. Her head bobbed up and down from my navel to my oesophagus, yoyo-like, awaking the dormancy of my desire. The aroma of her striking jet black hair was an enchanting composite of a brand new paperback and ink toner.
"This is so right," she whispered, her words coated in that stuff that nice feelings are made of.
"I know. Take me to your love domain," I said, rubbing her shoulders and having a sly squeeze of her right breast.
We adjourned to the bedroom, where I undid my belt and pulled down my very expensive trousers. She was wearing a bushman's singlet, which she removed using the usual method (pulling it over her head and extricating her arms from the sleeve holes), and a mini-skirt modelled on Petula Clark's ravishing outfits from the sixties. I sat on the double bed, caressing the sheets and goosing the calf I had prepared for our bovine ménage à trois later in the night. Lucy unpopped the button on her mini-skirt.
I admired the five sick guinea pigs she was housing in her bra, but became jealous when they started hogging the teat.
"Could you tell them to leave, maybe just for one night?" I asked.
"Nigel, they've been there for weeks, I can't just -- oh, all right. Anything for you, you beautiful boy." Then I began a careful chest examination -- measuring the plumpness of each breast, checking the pigmentation on each areola, testing the effectiveness of her teat for milk production. I settled down atop her lap and suckled for an hour, adding some cereal to my mouth to enhance the taste and banish the doldrums of frequent liquidity.
Then the intercourse began. We started by caressing the calf, who ran his hooves along my thigh, squeezing my leg bone with a cheeky insouciance, then we took turns penetrating the calf until milky love streamed from her udders and flooded the bedroom in unpasteurised sensuality. Lucy and I made love after the calf went for a swim. She began by climbing astride me, thrusting my hungry member into her succulent quim, and mewling like a kitten being batted around a tennis court by the Williams sisters. As we reached the zenith of penetration, our intercourse became peculiar.
Reaching for a pack of cigarettes, she lit one with the burning hotness in her pubic hairs, thrusting and sweating as the milk sloshed about her lavender thighs. Taking a puff and holding the smoke in her lungs, she bent over me, pressed her lips to mine and blew the fag fumes down my throat. As I lay there, powerless under her mechanical knees, jerking my silly penis into a tortured orgasm, she repeated the action: inhaling, holding and transporting the smoke. As I came, I could scarcely breathe. I was torn between the physical highs of ejaculation and the general drawbacks of asphyxiation.
"Oh, Nigel! Now you can do it. Now you can go into space and save humanity!" she said, falling back into the milk pool as the calf helped squirm her into an exaggerated climax.
"Huh... huh... huh... can't... breathe... eugh-eugh-eugh!"
I spluttered for five minutes, eventually clearing the smoke from my lungs. The taste in my mouth was so vile, so unimaginably vile, that I leapt into the milk and lapped it up at once, drinking the room clear and draining the calf dry. I fled. Lucy lay on the floor tossing the guinea pigs up in the air and laughing like a loon. Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha!
The morning after, Lucy was in my kitchen reading New Brains magazine and eating a croissant. Everything seemed normal. She had showered -- the stench of milk and fag ash was gone.
"Morning, Nigel dear," she began. "Join me for a morning snack. Where did you run off to last night?"
"I had to ... you went mental. I had to get out of there," I ventured, lost in the fug of my torture.
"I am sorry for springing that on you, but you don't smoke, you see, and I had to contaminate you so you can strap yourself to the rocket and help save humanity. Wouldn't that be a nice gesture?" she asked. The calf pulled up a stool and tucked into a bowl of Ricicles.
"I can't go up there. I'm not a smoker. I never planned on going up there to begin with. I'm taking about strapping committed smokers to rockets. People who're bound to get cancer anyway."
"Nigel, don't renege on your genius. You're going up there, all right? Do you want us to stay lovers, Nigel? If you don't get on that rocket and lick that ozone clean, what hope is there for the future, let alone our future?"
She had me boxed. I was frightened of heights, and even more frightened of the 2000kph G-force generated from the pulsating turbo boosters of cloud-bound rockets. I had to question my priorities. I had money, fame and power. I had the original pressing of Barbera Manning's debut album Lately I Keep Scissors. Did I really want to be blasted into the heavens on a rocket to lick the scum from the stratosphere with a million bronchitic fag-chugging stressballs? Or, to rephrase, did I really want Lucy to stay?
The following week, I was safely fastened to the side of an X7J Space Cruiser with two hundred cancer sufferers who wanted to go out in style. The fact I was the one person who wanted to return from the trip with my bones still attached somewhat crimped my motivation. Lucy was with me as the engineer strapped me in and told me not to look down on the way up. She'd brought the calf, who air-kissed me good luck.
"Godspeed, Nigel. We'll be thinking of you. If you don't come back, you might want to sign this document," she said, producing a paper and pen. "It's a peace of mind thing for me and the calf, you know. Keeps a roof over our head if -- God forbid -- something should go wrong."
After I signed, Lucy hopped in her Ferrari and blew a plume of smoke into my face. The fact I had handed over my entire fortune to her, the ugly calf and her tit-sucking guinea pigs mattered little to me now, for I was ready to meet my destiny, to butt heads with fate. The rocket fired up and I dropped a dookie in my special suit. My eardrums burst as I shot into the sky with these two hundred moribund dweebs, their silent screams egging me on. The G-force felt like being shrink-wrapped into infinity, and I only managed to keep my skin on thanks to Berreck Ebalmer -- a special skin cream for the urbane astronautical gentleman being blasted into or out of orbit.
The rocket slowed down as we entered the ozonosphere, stopping before the first layer of grime. I prepared my tongue by performing the limber-lapping exercises I had practised five weeks before blast-off (undulating the tongue in waves, lolling it around the gums). Then I tongued my first layer of scum. It was quite a contrast to licking salt from Lucy's neck. In that one lick, I tasted whitedamps from coalmines circa 1942 - 1975, nuclear fission leftovers from Chernobyl and an assortment of toxins from innumerable power stations. I also tasted fag smoke. In this case, it provided a welcome relief.
My accomplices were lapping it up like calves at their mother's pristine teat. I was struggling to take a third lick, but knew if I came back with my stomach no less than bursting with toxic scum, I would be branded a coward. So I got stuck in. I was sick with every slurp, but I'm proud to say I stayed up there and I licked that motherfucking ozone layer clean, and helped save the damn world. Upon finishing I sprayed the elderberry air freshener (CFC free) and gave the stratosphere a more welcoming aroma.
When I returned, I underwent colonic irrigation and my waste was deposited safely in the Atlantic Ocean, where it would help wipe out the bothersome shark population.
Winning Lucy back proved a trickier feat. She had expected me to be dead, and seeing me back on land -- the opposite of dead -- provided her with a squealing sensation of disappointment. I arrived back home ten stone thinner, on crutches, missing a kidney and a leg.
"Nigel? You're still alive," she said, baffled at the limping wreck before her.
"I did it, Lydie. I sucked that ozone clean!"
"Oh, so what? You're not the only one who did it, you know. Most of those carcinogenic fuckers bit the bullet for the greater good, anyway. You had to come back down for all the fanfare. What kind of a vain poodle does that? What kind of ape-wang refuses to fry his skin off when the rocket's blowing tropical fire up his arse for two hours? Look, you can stay the night, but you're going to have to find a new place in the morning. Start looking first thing."
"Are we still lovers?"
"Oh Nigel -- you still don't get it?"
"Oh, just get in, would you?"
The mansion had been redecorated with excerpts from the four bazillion novels Lucy had written, either as herself or as one of the various incarnations of herself that had regenerated from the beginning of time to the present. The calf had his own poetry corner, in which he recited cantos for his brethren starving in stock farms, neglected by Arkansan brutes with cattle prods for cocks. The guinea pigs had grown up into men with boat-sized snouts, each of them fronting their own publishing house.
Lucy led me to the men and pecked each of them on the cheek. She talked with them for an hour about mushrooms before pushing me onto a sofa and hurling a bottle of water at me. I downed it greedily.
"That's the calf's piss sample. Don't drink it all, he's going for an HIV test on Wednesday." It was too late, however -- I had already finished it. I had contracted HIV from the calf, and within a few minutes, I began a very complicated mutation that marked the end of my time as Nigel, the brilliant sexy devilish intrepid life-saving man of genius, into Nigel, the globule of death blown windily into the sewer of finality.
First, my knuckles retreated inward and poked out through my palms. Next, my hands sank into my arms, and my arms cracked into my respiratory tract, where my elbows nudged into my liver. My head disintegrated with all the enthusiasm of an onion in the sun into a fine brown powder, which sizzled into my neck, expanding to about the size of a colander.
My remaining leg jutted out of my pelvis, and I begged that Lucy shoot me and toss my body in the bins.
"Hang on, Nigel. You're a freak now. We can put you up in the Tate and make a fortune from you. We'll be the toast of the art crowd. I've always wanted that Damien Hirst sculling between my thighs. Look, stay there and I'll phone the art people."
So... a happy ending! Yes, no sad disposal by the bins for me, but a lucrative career as a howling freak in an art gallery, living off a diet of Sherbet and glazed coconuts while Lucy helps keep my estate in tip-top condition. The good news is that surgeons might be able to fix my unsightly retroussé nose (currently stuck up my anus) and keep me alive for more than the diagnosed three weeks.
To summarise: I have saved the world. I am an international art-freak sensation. What do you think of Nigel now? When you are standing before the mirror, preening yourself like a Norwegian love god, remember that I am the reason for your existence, and that someday, perhaps not today, perhaps not tomorrow, people will drop to their knees and say: "Remember Nigel? Yes, I sort of remember him too."
-- M.J. Nicholls